1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lugudunum

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LUGUDUNUM, or Lugdunum, an old Celtic place-name (fort or hill of the god Lugos or Lug) used by the Romans for several towns in ancient Gaul. The most important was the town at the confluence of the Saône and Rhone now called Lyons (q.v.). This place had in Roman times two elements. One was a Roman colonia (municipality of Roman citizens, self-governing) situated on the hill near the present Fourviéres (Forum vetus). The other, territorially distinct from it for reasons of statecraft, was the Temple of Roma and Augustus, to which the inhabitants of the 64 Gallic cantons in the three Roman provinces of Aquitania, Lugudunensis and Belgica—the so-called Tres Galliae—sent delegates every summer to hold games and otherwise celebrate the worship of the emperor which was supposed to knit the provincials to Rome. The two elements together composed the most important town of western Europe in Roman times. Lugudunum controlled the trade of its two rivers, and that which passed from northern Gaul to the Mediterranean or vice versa; it had a mint; it was the capital of all northern Gaul, despite its position in the south, and its wealth was such that, when Rome was burnt in Nero’s reign, its inhabitants subscribed largely to the relief of the Eternal City. (F. J. H.)